Jockey Casey Lambert, who turns 50 Aug. 24 and has won nearly 3,400 races on Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, plans to retire from riding when the summer horse racing season ends Sept. 7.
Trainer Tom Amoss joined an exclusive club of trainers July 30 when he registered the 3,000th victory of his career. Notching the milestone win for Amoss was Infinity of Humor July 30 at Indiana Grand Race Course.
Gold Legend, an 18-year-old half-brother to Dayjur (by Seattle Slew), will stand the 2009 season at Pierre Esquirol's Esquirol Farms in Alberta, Canada for $2,500 (Canadian funds).
Jack Garey's multiple grade I winner Heritage of Gold has been retired and will be bred to Seeking the Gold this year, according to an announcement from Robert Clay's Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky., where the mare was scheduled to be sent this weekend. Heritage of Gold won or placed in 22 of 28 career starts and retires with earnings of $2,381,762.
Gourmet Girl tracked pacesetter Asher through the early going en route to a 4 1/2-length win in Sunday's $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park. Lu Ravi finished second in the race for the second consecutive year, this time finishing a half-length ahead of Lazy Slusan. Last year's winner and this year's 8-5 favorite Heritage of Gold finished in tenth place, with Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) winner Spain fourth.
If it were just that Heritage of Gold and Lu Ravi were continuing their rivalry in Sunday's $500,000 Apple Blossom, that would be enough of a story, but this race may very well be the best filly and mare race in the country this year. Heritage of Gold and Lu Ravi have finished one-two, in that order, in all three of their Oaklawn meetings, but this time they will have to face Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Spain, who has to carry the topweight of 122 pounds.
Heritage of Gold began her 6-year-old campaign the same way she started her 5-year-old season – defeating Lu Ravi in the Oaklawn Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III). The one-two finishers from last year's renewal of the $200,000 race duplicated their performances Sunday at Oaklawn Park. This year the exacta returned $9.60.
Her reputation has been tarnished a bit after surprising back-to-back losses in the Personal Ensign (gr. I) at Saratoga and the Three Chimneys Spinster (gr. I) at Keeneland, but a workout on the Churchill Downs turf Wednesday by Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) contender Heritage of Gold showed trainer Tom Amoss that she can still be a major force on Breeders' Cup Day.
With the Breeders' Cup just around the corner, more questions were asked than were answered as favorites were upset in graded stakes.
Plenty of Light moved ahead of Spain while wide of that rival and drew away on the backstretch to a commanding lead en route to winning the $543,500 Three Chimneys Spinster Stakes (gr. I) by 3 1/2 lengths over Spain Saturday at Keeneland. 2-5 favorite Heritage of Gold never made a run and finished fourth.
Heritage of Gold drew the rail and was installed as the 4-5 morning-line favorite for the $543,000-added Three Chimneys Spinster Stakes (gr. I) Saturday at Keeneland. The seven-horse field also includes Plenty of Light, Roza Robata, Spain, and Ruby Surprise.
Barn notes from Churchill Downs include notable workouts and plans for top horses.
John C. Oxley's Beautiful Pleasure earned a front-running win in in the $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) Friday at Saratoga. Under Jorge Chavez, Beautiful Pleasure raced wide around both turns while alone on the lead before racing down the center of the track through the stretch, finishing five lengths clear of Back in Shape.
Beautiful Pleasure and Heritage of Gold will begin their rematch from neighboring starting gate stalls as the two drew post positions two and three, respectively, for Friday's $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Heritage of Gold and Beautiful Pleasure continued preparing for their expected rematch in the $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 25, completing workouts at that track Friday morning.
Jack Garey's Heritage of Gold remained undefeated on the year by defeating reigning distaff champion Beautiful Pleasure in a sloppy renewal of the $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I) Sunday at Saratoga.
Heritage of Gold continued preparing for an expected rematch with 1999 older filly and mare champion Beautiful Pleasure.
Heritage of Gold was back out on Churchill Downs' main strip Wednesday morning.
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